Sunday, November 4, 2018

Product Review: SPIBeam Hat by SPIBelt

The SPIBeam Hat




Disclaimer: I received a SPIBeam Hat by SPIBelt as part of being a  BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.

As Autumn continues and moves into Winter, more and more of us will find ourselves running some portions of a run or runs during the week in the dark.  Whether it's before or after work or the start of a long run over the weekend, we will be reaching for some form of lighting source.  SPIBelt, (SPI stands for Small Personal Item), has come out with a new line of lighting devices including arm bands, visors, and caps.  As a BibRave Pro, when offered the chance to demo a lighting item from SPIBelt, I chose the baseball type cap.  


Lighting up the dark in the front and the back.

The lights.  The cap comes with 4 LED lights in the front that have one brightness setting.  The back of the cap has 2 red LED lights with 2 settings, steady or blinking.  

The 4 lights in front shine forth an adequate amount of light for early morning street running in the dark.  I typically took them on short runs as I recovered from my recent surgery and in areas that I knew the footing pretty well, though there were some tripping hazards.  I found on the streets the lights were enough, but that as I gravitated towards the shoulders where there might be more tripping hazards, I wouldn't have minded maybe 2 more lights for additional brightness and perhaps a bit more peripheral vision.  I would simply continue the spacing on the hat and add 1-2 lights per side, making the hat go from 4 lights to 6-8.  In addition, these extra lights, or perhaps a brighter setting, would allow this hat to be a great resource on the trails around the North East as well which are often know for having lots of tripping hazards, especially roots.

The rear lights are a nice addition, again, mostly for road running.  I was really glad to find them on there before I went on my second run.  I say that because as I got ready for my second run, I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if there were rear lights on this thing..."  And then there were!  Somehow I missed them on my first run!  I love the blinking setting.  My only concern, and both my wife and daughter who also used the hat on separate occasions also noted this, that when you go to "snug" the cap on, as many people do, and most guys for sure, the rear of your head actually presses the button and changes the setting, leaving you unsure what setting the rear lights are actually using.  This can be overcome by memorizing the settings and using the one before the one you want so when you "snug" the cap, it will adjust to the right setting.  However, if you "snug" the cap again during the run...it's likely going to change or shut off the rear lights.


Moose was one of many users of my new SPIBeam Hat

The rest of the hat is what you'd find in a normal running/racing cap.  Lightweight, great air venting, sweatband against the forehead, easily adjustable.  It currently comes in black, yellow, or pink.  I would love to see 2 additional colors in the future: white for Summer weather and orange for hunting season.  This might seem weird for runs in the dark...but runs in the dark often start or end in the light.  White would be great for hot Summer days and orange for hunting season where trail runners are sometimes in the same or close to the same areas as hunters.


Super G Lobbie lays down the tracks with the new SPIBeam Hat.

In conclusion, I actually love this idea.  I think SPIBeam has a winner here, but I do believe it could be improved upon with some additional lights or a brighter setting in front, especially for trail runners.  The rear light button might need to be moved up front on the bill along with the front light switch.  Additional color options would be awesome as well.  Just to note, one of my daughters used it in a Fall corn maze and my wife used it to take the kids around the neighborhood for Halloween.  Translation:  this is a super easy and comfortable lighting system that can be used for so much more than just running and does away with needing either a flashlight or headlamp system.

Save 20% right now on any item at spibelt.com with code BIBRAVE.  Enjoy!

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